Relevant and even prescient commentary on news, politics and the economy.

The New Coup Attempt

The New Coup Attempt

 OK, I thought that the collapse of Trump’s lawsuits and the flight of his top lawyers was going to do in his coup attempt.  But we now see a far more desperate effort going on, although with Trump still trying to stay at least marginally within legal boundaries, although not by much, and clearly trying every single thing he can do to block Biden’s victory.  It is getting down to blocking certification of results in enough states so that even if he cannot get legislatures to approve pro-Trump electors, highly unlikely as illegal in all the swing states actually, but to have the situation undecided so that nobody goes from enough states so that when Electoral College votes on Dec. 14, Biden falls short of the necessary 270, which would then throw it to the House of Representatives, where Trump would win because a majority of the states have majority GOP representation, and the voting is by state. The last time the House determined the outcome was in 1824, when second-place John Quincy Adams defeated first place in both popular and electoral votes, Andrew Jackson, as Henry Clay threw his support to Adams in return for being appointed Secretary of State.

The sign of how desperate Trump has become is that even though GOP Sec of State in Georgia Raffensperger has certified that Biden won Georgia, in the face of calls for his resignation and death threats, that needs to be signed by the GOP Governor Kemp, whom apparently Trump is calling and pressuring not to sign off, again, the effort to simply have things unresolved as of Dec. 14.

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Town Hall Forum – Student Loan Debt Crisis

I have known Alan Collinge for a decade or so. Angry Bear has featured Alan and the Student Loan Justice Org. story multiple times. I have written about it on the side also. Finally some clarity being added by the level of these people in the Town Forum who are seen by others to have authority beyond what Alan and a bunch of students and former students have. Greater than 800,000 people have signed a petition to remove the debt on them.

Click om the “Read More” to see the Town Hall Video. More to Come.

Panelists include:

PAUL GRONDAHL – Director New York State Writers Institute (host)

MATT TAIBBI – Author, Rolling Stone Magazine, Reporter (moderator)

Michael J. Camoin – Videos For Change Productions, SCARED TO DEBT (filmmaker), UAlbany MSW ’92 graduate.

ALAN COLLINGE – Founder of StudentLoanJustice.Org (activist)

CATHERINE AUSTIN FITT – Investment Advisor (former Sallie Mae )

THOMAS BORGERS – Wall Street Banker, Financial Investigator

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A Clinical Trial for Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia

Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia is the most common kind of leukemia in adults. Current therapy is extremely unpleasant and often (usually) fails. There is a very large number of clinical trials of new therapies mostly immunotherapies. They are based on the fact that CLL cells are B-cells which express CD20.

One such trial is NCT03759184 Human IL-15 (rhIL-15) and Obinutuzumab for Relapsed and Refractory Chronic Lymphocyte Leukemia

This is a therapy which isn’t too horrible. The doctors are having some trouble recruiting patients (as noted above there are many trials attempting to treat people with relapsed and refractory CLL).

Complete disclosure: one of those doctors is my dad.

People with relapsed and refractory CLL who are interested in considering whether to enrol in the trial can

Contact: NCI Medical Oncology Referral Office (240) 760-6050

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A Little Update on AB System Changes

Dan, Eric, and I met with programmers to review planned improvements to the image and functionality of AB. This was mostly relegated to the front page. Some things we touched upon:

  • Making the front page I and Android phone readable and functional. This carries over into tablet use also. In the past, it was told to us, readers went to contortions to read the various posts.
  • Restructure the front page to allow for other links akin to what EV had so as to introduce new and meaningful  discussions on open threads besides authored posts.
  • A general cleanup of it. I am sure Dan and Eric can add to this also.

On the comment page for each post or open thread:

  • We are adding better punctuation capabilities so you can bold, link, and do other things which will enhance your comments.
  • Make it more readable, enlarge the comment box so you can see what you have already wrote and continue to write.
  • Hopefully provide a capability to post pictures, graphs, etc.

Our readers and commenters are intelligent and sophisticated. We are hoping to ratchet up the dialogue a bit and provide a better experience. Feel free to ask questions here or directly to Dan and Eric also. Each may add something I have missed. Ideas are still welcome if given to us soon and are also doable.

Thanks !


run75441 (sometimes known as 24601)


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Housing permits and starts: more evidence for a powerful economic liftoff in 2021

Housing permits and starts: more evidence for a powerful economic liftoff in 2021

This morning (Nov. 19) yet another leading indicator showed that the economy is revving to move ahead strongly, and is only being held back by the pandemic (and the horrible “response” by Trump).

Total (blue in the graph below) and single family (red) housing permits both made yet another 10 year + highs, while housing starts (green), which typically follow a month or two later, also improved. Here’s the longer-term look:

Focusing on the last 18 months shows that only starts have failed to make a new high:

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Electoral Map

In ‘Dearly Beloved,’ and in ‘Are Capitalism and Democracy Compatible?‘, I spoke to the inequities of the Electoral College and of the very unrepresentative Senate. In the both, I spoke of how, in 2016, Trump lost the popular vote by 3 million votes yet won the Electoral College, and the presidency, by 80,000 votes in three states. In 2020, Trump lost the popular vote by more than 5 million votes; but this time he lost the Electoral College by only 45,000 votes. So, as soon as they figure this out, will republicans start demanding the Nation get rid of the Electoral College?

How in the hell could 73 million Americans vote for Trump? How many of those 73 million Americans supported Trump because of his Birtherism, Racism, vulgarism, anti-science attitude, self-centeredness, sexism, misogyny, narcissism, habitual lying, …? Did that many Americans always harbor such beliefs, but were to embarrassed to express them? Did the good union man, the good family man, always harbor these thoughts about women, blacks, …? Evidently, many of them did. Is it that they would have been embarrassed in the past for others to know of these thoughts, but felt that they were given license by Trump to express them publicly? Whatever, a very large percentage of Americans are really screwed up. How can we deduce otherwise? The question becomes, how does the Nation address this reality?

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Coronavirus Dashboard for November 16: raging out of control

Coronavirus Dashboard for November 16: raging out of control

Total US infections: 11,036,935*

Average last 7 days: 148,725/day (new record high)
Total US deaths: 246,214
Average last 7 days: 1,103/day
Source: COVID Tracking Project
*confirmed cases only: I suspect the total number is on the order of 16 million, or close to 5% of the total US population.

Back in August, when summer’s 2nd wave of new infections was near its peak, I devised my own rating system as to how each State was doing, as follows:

Deep Red (general alarm out-of-control fire): 200+ infections per million, 5+ deaths per million.
Red (3 alarm fire): 100-200 infections, 2-5 deaths
Orange (2 alarm fire): 60-100 infections, 1-2 deaths
Yellow (1 alarm fire):40-60 infections, 0.5-1 deaths
Blue (smoldering/1 alarm fire): 20-40 infections, 0.2-0.5 deaths
Green (embers): 0-20 infections,  0-0.2 deaths

As to infections, most of the States (33) were in the “Red” or “Orange” categories.

At the high extreme, there were 5 States in the “Deep Red” category for infections: MS, ND, GA, TN, and AL.

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Economy still expanding, but with retail consumption outpacing production

Economy still expanding, but with retail consumption outpacing production

This morning saw two important releases of October data: industrial production and retail sales. Both showed continued strength.

Industrial production is the King of Coincident Indicators, and more than any other metric typically shows whether the overall economy is expanding or contracting. In October it increased by 1.1%, while manufacturing production increased by 1.0%. The overall number more than reversed last month’s decline, while past manufacturing numbers were revised higher. In the below graph I’ve normed both to 100 as of February to show the pandemic impact:

Note that their actual peaks were in November and December 2018, respectively. After declining about 20% at their April troughs, both are now only about 5% below their February peaks. Still, the pace over the last 3 months has averaged less than a 1% increase per month, so it would take about 6 more months at this rate simply to equal the series’ pre-pandemic levels.


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Democrats: the “less unpopular” party

Democrats: the “less unpopular” party

No economic news today  (Nov. 16). I hope to put up an updated Coronavirus Dashboard (hint: it’s pretty unremittingly awful) later.

In the meantime, I wanted to add a postscript to yesterday’s post about the Democrats’ problem obtaining a durable electoral majority.

It occurred to me after I put up yesterday’s piece is that the essence of what I wanted to say in response to the meme that “Democrats have won 7 of the last 8 popular votes” is that, while Democrats may be “more popular than” the GOP, on an absolute scale the truthful statement is this:

“Democrats are *less UNpopular* than the GOP.”

Here’s why. If you average the popular votes that the two parties have gotten beginning with 1996 you get the following:

Democrats: 49.9%
GOP: 46.5%

The simple fact is that in the past 6 elections going back 24 years more people have voted *against* the Democratic nominee than have voted for the nominee.  In other words, in an absolute sense, the Democratic nominees have been *unpopular,* if by the slightest of margins. There’s simply no way to build a durable electoral majority on that basis.

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